June 29, 2021

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Halfway Through: A Midyear Recap (2021 Edition)

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings in order to discuss a wide range of topics from books to blogging (and some slightly more personal matters thrown in for good measure). While Heidi is on an extended hiatus, there are five of us who are hosting it and providing the questions. The current team is composed of Berls at Because Reading Is Better Than Real LifeJen at That's What I'm Talking AboutKaren at For What It's WorthLinda at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell and Roberta at Offbeat YA. This week's question is...


[which I renamed HALFWAY THROUGH: A MIDYEAR RECAP (2021 EDITION) in order to be consistent with my previous midyear posts]

I've fallen into the habit of doing a midyear recap/check since 2018, so here's my 2021 one (under the TMST umbrella this time). What's happened in my life and on the blog so far this year? Health scares and wages guarantee fund, posting consistency and lots of adult (mainly sci-fi) book reviews, and a blinds+front door replacement nightmare...


You all know about my health problems in the first half of the year, I guess, so I'll only recap them briefly. On Dec. 31st I had a pulmonary embolism, which was later ascribed to a leg thrombosis (if there's still someone of you who doesn't know the whole story, you can read it here). Also, my lymphocytosis flared up. After weeks of exams and medical appointments, things are much better now. I'm still under bloodthinners at this stage, but the bimonthly ecodopplers
show notable signs of improvement. Also, my latest bloodwork results were encouraging - though my illness is what it is, and one day I'll need to take drugs to battle the white cells and lymphocytes multiplication. Thankfully though, that day has yet to come.

Smiling woman waving


This year we didn't have a national lockdown, but different levels of it depending on the case number in each region...anyhow, cinemas, theaters, pools, gyms etc. were closed anywhere, and bars, restaurants and the like were only allowed to offer takeaway and home delivery. My region went into total lockdown for a week only. Since April 26th, in parallel with the increasing number of people being vaccinated, more and more activities have been reopening, though with rules in place of course. Mind you, vaccines have been SLOW - I'm 54 and I was only able to get my first shot two weeks ago (my parents, mother-in-law and husband are fully vaccinated instead. He got his via the local hospital since he works there as a switchboard operator, while the rest of the family had priority access because of their age). Things seem to look good now. Since yesterday, we're not required to wear masks outside anymore, and case numbers have been very, very low lately...let's hope variants don't throw a wrench in our works 😐.

My boss put me on wages guarantee fund again - from March 15th to April 4th, then from April 19th to May 31st, and again from June 1st to June 30th. Like the previous times, I only worked the Mondays and Fridays. I regret to inform you that this time I didn't take advantage of my free days to perform a mad spring cleaning. Oh, I should have, but I had zero energy, and time just...flew? I did stuff, but nothing comparable to my 2020 performance. What did I do instead, you ask? Um. I read...I blogged...I talked to my online friends...the usual scenario 🤷‍♂️. And I scheduled EVEN more posts way in advance than I usually do. So, how come I never can seem to stop scheduling YET more posts? 👀

My study plan went to hell. I still haven't given up on it, but I'm procrastinating it month by month, so I guess it's the same difference. I just don't think it's doable, plus my life would be misery without my reading and blogging time. Then again, everything's getting more and more pricey, and I need a different job, and I can't seem to find one that suits my situation (and, um, age). Stalemate.

I got new blinds and a new front door installed (courtesy of my parents), but OF COURSE, it was just another tricky chapter in my already tricky life. The company made an appointment for Tuesday 8th, then cancelled it ONE day ahead, then wanted me to wait 3 more weeks because they were "busy" (and here I had already taken my curtains down and stacked them on the couch). After a bit of quarrelling, we were able to get another appointment for Friday 11th, but I had to take a day off (my husband couldn't), because OF COURSE the only day they could spare was one of the only two days a week I currently work 😠. I mean, it's like they were the only people who have commitments. But wait! it gets better! The appointed day they realised that the door was the wrong size and there weren't any blinds. They offered a refund, but goodness, I was too tired to start anew with someone else (and unwilling to live with my curtains on the couch for months, not to mention put them up and then down again. My body simply cannot 😓). Now, we're pretty sure the (wrong) door had arrived, because they made a new inspection to see if it could be fitted, but we suspect that the reason why they had been delaying the whole thing was that they KNEW the blinds hadn't arrived yet (were they ever ordered in the first place?), only they didn't want to admit it.
Scene 2: they make another appointment for the 24th. At 9.45 I haven't seen anyone yet, so I call, and they say the door is still in a warehouse just out of town and they have to fetch it themselves, since apparently, the courier is not making the trip for it alone, so there will be a delay of a few hours. Like, what? you even offered to come yesterday, for goodness' sake, only I declined because it wasn't convenient for me...and as of today, the damned door isn't in your possession yet?!? We practically were up at dawn for this! And couldn't you have sent the workmen for the blinds at least - or, you know, called? Anyhow...in the end they came at 2 pm and were gone at 5! All that fuss for...what? I mean, they made it sound like their issue with making an appointment was that they would need to spend the whole day here...

Last but not least - summer has barely reared its ugly head and I'm already fucked. Not only my legs muscles (as usual), but also my neck, shoulders and arms ones hurt ALL THE TIME. It's especially great when you have the whole house upon the aforementioned shoulders 😟. Some nights are hell, because I only sleep properly when on the side, and I don't know what to do with my legs. So, you know, fun.

The only good thing that happened during these six months was...a book giveaway win. The lovely Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? provided me with a copy of The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (recommended by my friend Carrie @ Bright, Beautiful Things).

(Nothing else to report, I'm afraid. Yes, I have that kind of life 😢).

Epic fail: minion falling from the top of other minions' cheerleading pyramid


I started this year in a relaxed manner, because 2020 had been a mad race for my standards, and I wanted to avoid burnout...plus I had big plans of studying fo the alleged 2021 public examination (and we know how THAT went...☝). At the end of my latest end-of-the-year post, I stated:
 [...] for 2021 I'm falling back to my usual goal: 52 posts, one per week. I know it's sustainable - and if I manage to do more, great, but I'm not holding my breath.
Except...ARCs happened, and TMST posts happened, and...I did better than expected, if by a little. Let's have a closer look:

  • 👍 total posts: 29 (in 27 weeks). At this rate, I might very well have been on my way to surpassing my goal...except I'm in dire need of a break, which means blog hiatus! (see below). And I don't care. I'm not blogging for the numbers anyway.
  • 😊 reviews: 12 + 3 mini-review rounds. Breakdown: 10 of those books were ARCs, courtesy of NetGalley (mainly) and Edelweiss. Also, 8 of them were adult (mostly sci-fi, since I don't request the most common types of adult books LOL), and 1 was the adult last installment in a series that started as (dark) YA. Now, everyone keeps telling me that this is my blog and I can do what I want, but again - I'm sorry for the lack of variety, plus it's just weird to have a YA blog and populate it with adult reviews. In my defense though, I requested a number of YA books as well, but for some reason I wasn't approved. So I decided I might as well post (most of) my adult reviews in a timely manner, and review my purchased YA books in the second half of the year...unless a ton more of enticing adult sci-fi hits the shelves 😂.
  • 😳 discussion posts: 0 (if you don't count the TMST ones, of course) - but those weren't even on my radar for the time being.

Also, a me-related bookish piece of news: the novel I beta-read a year ago found a publisher! I'm so happy for Joshua Winning and his contemporary fantasy The Shadow Glass! Read the deal announcement here, and mark your calendars for March 22nd, 2022!

Buffy cheerleading


As I said above, I mean to review a few old-ish YA from my collection, though I still have adult stuff coming (new and not-so-new). I'm also going to review more Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant backlist books, because there are just so many of those - I hope you're not getting fed up with them 😉. I'll still be involved in TMST, though I can only make time for answering a question here and there (sometimes I can't even answer my own LOL). I'll hopefully celebrate Halloween month with my usual Back to Black: Beating the Halloween Backlist review series. Frankly, I don't have the time and energy to do more.

On the contrary...I decided take a hiatus and stop fighting to stay on top of things for a month or so. I mean, a REAL hiatus, not my usual kind where I have scheduled posts and you can never tell that I'm gone LOL. I SO didn't want to, for the sake of my older books that I haven't (fully) reviewed yet - but I'm drained, and I want to read for fun alone for a while (though I'll drop a few minis on Goodreads). So, the blog will "rest" from Aug. 18th to Sep. 13th...very specific, I know, but I have appointed posts before and after. (In real life, though, my hiatus is already taking place, and will go on until the end of July, since I have already written all my posts up to Aug. 18th). Anyhow, this doesn't mean I won't stalk you lovely people on your blogs and Goodreads and Twitter. Books and blogging and online convos are the only joy in my life, so no, I'm not going anywhere 🙂.

Well, that's it for now. Did you enjoy this post? Would you like to participate in the meme on a regular or semi-regular basis, and get emailed the prompt list? Just head over here and fill in Jen's form! (Of course, you can jump in anytime you like - you are under no obligation to actually do all the posts, or even most of them, just because you signed up, and you can remove yourself from the list at any time). And if you're interested in participating in a more casual manner, or only in commenting, here is the TMST prompt list for the month of July:

  • July 6th: How do you approach writing reviews? (a question I submitted)
  • July 13th: What are your favourite posts to read? (a question I submitted)
  • July 20th: What authors have you recently discovered and loved?
  • July 27th: Where is your favorite place to read during the summer?

I'll be back on July 6th, and I'm so curious about your answers!

Now tell me something...how's 2021 treated you so far? and how did your blog fare? What are your hopes and plans for the rest of the year?


  1. There's so much to digest. I am sorry that your body parts are causing your discomfort, but I am glad your other health issues are improving. Congratulations on the book win! I love winning stuff, even if I don't need it, I like it. I think TMST count as discussion posts. They're not reviews or lists, therefore, discussion.

    1. "I am sorry that your body parts are causing your discomfort".
      Haha, I love how you phrased it. Thank you for reading my long-ass post and validating my TMST posts as discussions!

  2. It's been a slower reading/blogging year for me too, in part because of my blog being flagged for a time and in part because of general burnout. I've had to scale back a bit too, and I'm reading less and posting fewer reviews overall. But as you say, we do this for the fun and the community and the love of books, not for the numbers. I hope you enjoy your hiatus and come back feeling refreshed and excited about blogging again! 💛

    1. I did notice less reviews on your part (even after the Tumblr debacle), though you're still a champ next to me LOL. And I miss reading more reviews from you! but I would be a hypocrite if I didn't understand. Thank you sweetie!

  3. Medical issues are not fun. I have a bunch of them as well and I hate seeing the doctor. I'm glad the door and stuff were installed though.

    The new Covid cases here in Las Vegas have started to rise again. Some days are worst than others, yesterday there were 800 new cases. That's just the ones we know about so I have a bad feeling.

    I've been reading more and posting more reviews on my blog. I've been getting a lot more page vies on my Sunday posts too, which is fun. People seem to like my Apartment Hell posts. lol

    1. "yesterday there were 800 new cases. That's just the ones we know about"
      Yikes. Are people being careless, or just refusing the vaccine?

      "People seem to like my Apartment Hell posts. lol"
      Ha! It's a bit heartless of us, isn't it? to like a post where you describe your ever-dangerous life 😉.

    2. Not heartless at all. I hardly ever feel in danger. lol It's mostly just me watching all the craziness going on around me.

  4. So weird, but this year has actually been better for blogging and reading for me! I didn't expect it, but I'll take it.

    Yay for finally getting your vaccines, but sad it took so long. Like you, I'm hoping that the variants don't set us back - that Delta variant is looking scary :(

    Hoping for an even better second half of 2021!

    1. "this year has actually been better for blogging and reading for me!"
      Glad to hear you were able to make the best of this horrible year - many people I know where struggling to focus (not me though).


  5. It still sounds like you had a productive couple of months, at least, you're more productive than me.

    I would have changed service for the door situation, it doesn't sound like they want your business at all. I would have not the patience as you did.

    I feel bad that your health hasn't great, I hope things get better real soon.

    Here's hoping the second half of the year suck for any of us.

    Have a lovely day.

    1. But you've been productive! Also, you created art, which surely takes more time than writing a post.

      Thank you!

  6. Roberta, you have had such a tough year. But, you're still standing, and that is always worth celebrating. I wish you nothing but the best during your rest. You deserve it for sure!

  7. What a year you've been having. I'm glad that you health scare is so much better, now if you could just get the rest of your body to go along with the game plan.

    My reviewing and reading is off to a better first half than I finished the last half of 2020, but I'm starting to slow down a bit. Like you, I'm just rolling with it. Luckily I have some weekly posts that are minimal work to fill in days.

    Here's to a healthy, successful second half of 2021!

    1. "now if you could just get the rest of your body to go along with the game plan."
      Haha, if only...😭😭😭

      They say you have to be consistent if you want to keep your audience, but since our audience nowadays is mostly composed by other bloggers...sometimes it's good to let go a little. I mean, I'm still struggling with it, but I think I'm learning. Plus, it's summer...for some of us it's bliss, for others it's torture, but for everyone it's the season when we need to take a break or slow down, if for different reasons.

      Thanks! Same to you!

  8. You are doing WAY better than me this year lol

    But this is how we roll. Always opposites ha!

    I'm very happy you were able to get your vaccine. Our state just opened back up and dropped all mandates so here's hoping things to don't go haywire in a few weeks.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

    1. Does it mean that you'll write a ton of posts while I'm on a hiatus? 😂 It almost sounds like between me and you, we only have so many posts to bring forth LOL.

      Here's hoping careless people and variants don't cause havoc...👀

  9. I'm glad to hear the Covid situation is better there now. Most restrictions have been lifted here too, and hardly anyone is wearing masks, so hopefully the variants don't cause too much havoc. And I'm sorry to hear about your muscled pain! Not being able to sleep at night is the worst. I hope you're feeling better, my friend...

    Yay for Halloween. and glad you're sticking around. I took a short break the alst week or so myself (been sick) and it's kinda nice lolol.

    1. I'm afraid that people everywhere will start being careless because they'll be like "oh, it's summer, and there's no more Covid around anyway", which isn't true of course...

      What's with us bloggers that we only take a hiatus when we're sick or totally drained? LOL. I did notice the lack of posts - I was indeed wondering what caused it. I hope you're feeling well again now! And thank you for...well, everything 💚.

    2. I was actually afraid maybe I had covid again, i was so FATIGUED. I came back from vacation sick, did NOTHING had no energy. It was awful. Better now.

      How are you feeling???

    3. Ugh. Fatigued, go figure. I don't know what the odds are to get sick with Covid twice, but I hear you - scary.

      I'm hurting a bit because, as I said, summer is my muscles' enemy. I'm basically waiting for the cold to come back, and I don't even like the cold LOL. What a life.

  10. I'm so glad to hear the good news about your health!! 💚 Congrats on that book win! It's always a good feeling when you win something! I'm sorry you're already experiencing the pains of summer. :| Not sure about Italy but we have been experiencing some insane heatwaves recently.. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I fear for the future, because this type of weather is not normal here, especially not in June. And I can see that similar stuff is happening in other places too. I hope you can rest some during the summer. Take care, Roberta! 💚

    1. From what I hear, the weather has been crazy everywhere. Italy isn't experiencing a heatwave, but sure the temps are above June levels for us too. Yeah, it's scary. Sometimes I think we can't stop what's happening, let alone go back of course.

      Thank you hon! You rest as well - you've earned it.

  11. I wasn't aware of your health scares that happened earlier this year. I'm sorry, but I'm also glad to hear that you've been feeling better. That sounds like a whole hulabaloo with your new blinds and front door - companies like that can be so FRUSTRATING. And then all of that re-scheduling ended up only being for three hours of work. Ah! I'd be tearing my hair out! I completely understand you wanting to take a blogging hiatus - I hope that you'll enjoy reading freely for a month. My year so far only really began for me once I started blogging again after my depression ended. The months that happened before are still mostly a blur. Things are really good now though - I set myself a challenge for this month to post twice a week by posting a short one-three paragraph post on Wednesday to accompany my usual Sat ones. Since they're so short, they've been relatively easy to squeeze in and I've enjoyed doing them. My goal for the end of the year is to get a job.

    1. Thank you! 💚

      I'm so happy you're back and thriving. I hope your blog and the amazing response it's getting lately will help with keeping depression at bay! And 2 posts a week are totally doable. I'm keeping my finger crossed for that job!

  12. Such a scary health scare. I am glad you are feeling better

    And a busy year and good plans.

    I am glad you got your shot too!

    1. Yep, it was scary...it could have gone bad.

      Thank you!

  13. I am so sorry that summer is causing you extra grief with your body. Tell it that your book friends ordered it to cooperate! 😂 But glad that you are doing better in terms of your big scare! Also, I agree with Sam up there, TMST totally count as discussions! (And you can always feel free to link them up to the Challenge too- nothing wrong with double dipping, in this instance hahah!)

    The blinds thing sounds like a MESS- and one I am to undertake soon, so I am not excited. I had to put it off because I'd contacted the people right before COVID, so yeah. Also glad you are finally (almost) vaccinated! That did take wayyy too long, especially considering your health issues. But at least you'll be good to go soon! My mom and I took my kids to the movies today for the first time in like, a year and a half, and it was so WEIRD, having it be open again!

    Also, can I just say that your scheduling impresses me so much? I schedule a post a few hours in advance and I am patting myself on the back, you know what's going on through the fall! It is SO impressive!

    1. "I am so sorry that summer is causing you extra grief with your body. Tell it that your book friends ordered it to cooperate! 😂"
      LOL, if only that worked, I would be fabulously healthy, because I have awesome book friends 💛.

      Uh, I hope your blinds people are nothing like mine. And I get it - going to the movies after so long must have felt surreal...but also exciting!

      "I schedule a post a few hours in advance and I am patting myself on the back, you know what's going on through the fall! It is SO impressive!"
      This made me cry, honestly. You people make me feel so validated like no one in real life does 😭 💚.

  14. Wow, the whole fiasco with the door and blinds sounds terrible. Nothing can ever be easy! I'm glad that your health is under control for now, though, and I hope it stays that way without medication for a good long time!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. "Nothing can ever be easy!"
      It feels exactly that way...even the small things end up being so exhausting sometimes...

      Thank you!


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